My clients Tim and Doris were in their late seventies. Both had heart disease, and recently at their routine check-ups, Tim’s cholesterol levels had gone through the roof. Doris admitted that for weeks they had been getting a lot of greasy take-out food for lunch and dinner that they knew wasn’t heart-healthy by any stretch.

“I wasn’t feeling that well myself, so I pretty much just stopped cooking,” Doris told me during my regular visit. “I know we shouldn’t get so much take-out, or at the very least, get something healthier. But it’s so hard to ‘be good.’ We can only take being deprived for so long.”

But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A healthy diet provides essential nutrients from the basic food groups and the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. Yet there is so much conflicting information about what foods are best and which foods should be avoided. Moreover there is no one “ideal” diet that works for everyone. Tim and Doris, like many people, had often gone cold turkey, giving up their favorite foods to ‘eat healthy.’ But as is so often the case, they soon got tired of rigid restrictions and went back to their old eating patterns.

“How about making some small changes first,” I suggested.

I recommended a few things that Doris and Tim could start doing right away. First, was having a variety of fruits and vegetables on their plates every day. Starting dinner with a colorful salad would pack in nutrients and help to fill them up before the main meal. I referred them to a website of quick and easy healthy recipes. These were other ideas Doris and Tim decided to try:

  • Drinking a glass of water a half hour before each meal.
  • Using smaller plates for better portion control.
  • Planning meals and not skipping meals.
  • Having a fruit bowl out and/or cut-up veggies with hummus readily available for snacks, instead of junk food.
  • Drinking more water during the course of the day. They decided to each fill a water bottle and sip throughout the day.
  • Shopping for groceries when NOT hungry.
  • Avoiding eating 2 – 3 hours before bedtime.

While these are simple and easy things, over time even small changes can bring about significant health benefits. And when you begin to notice the benefits, it’s even more motivating to continue on a path to better health!

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 610-667-2838 or email us at CareManagement@waverlyheights.org. We’ll be happy to assist!